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People’s Choice:Hope for Honde Valley villagers

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Many areas in Zimbabwe experience inadequate water supplies perennially but most people just complain about the problem and expect the authorities to do something about it.

But not James Muterere, a retired RM Insurance employee who decided to make a difference in his community. After observing that schools in Honde Valley, in Manicaland Province, particularly Muterere Primary and Secondary School, were having serious water problems Muterere took it upon himself to make the situation better by having locals come together and drawing water from the nearby Pungwe River, so that the schools could have tapped water.

Muterere, now 71, spent his childhood years in Honde Valley and only came to Harare to look for work after completing his secondary school education. While he was attending school in Honde Valley, he noticed how difficult it was to access clean water.

They had to travel almost three kilometres to get water, from Pungwe River, and every time they got back everyone would be too tired to pay attention to the teacher in class.

Muterere often wondered if nothing could be done to make things a little easier because as it was children were beginning to hate going to school. What made everything even worse was the fact that after school the children also had to go home and assist their parents to get water from the same Pungwe River.

When Muterere relocated to Harare he would visit his rural home every public holiday and he noticed that the problem still persisted and that was when he decided to take action. In 1991, Muterere held a meeting with the people of his village and suggested what he had in mind.

He wanted to bring tapped water to the schools and so he needed people to come together to raise money to buy pipes and also to dig and put these pipes underground from Pungwe River to the Muterere Primary and Secondary Schools. He started this project in 1991 with the aim of improving conditions at schools in his home area, Honde Valley.

Members of the community were pleased with the idea and they started working on it. This has successfully been done and both schools now have water from taps and the children can now focus on their studies. Muterere did not stop there. He went onto make sure that the schools had electricity and he also applied to Ministry of Education for the introduction of Advanced level at Muterere  Secondary School.

His application was approved.

Since he started, the situation has improved greatly and most people, even households now have running water in their homes.

Currently he is working on finding a new source of water because Pungwe River can only supply a certain number of people and not the whole of Honde Valley.

Muterere primary and high schools are among those that have benefitted since the commencement of the project. A number of households have also benefitted and

Muterere is still working on making sure that everyone has easy access to clean water.

Members of the Muterere community raise the money themselves and this is the reason why the project is taking a long time

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